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Bill O'Brien encouraged by young O-linemen

When you lose 34-6, there are few bright spots.

But Texans head coach Bill O'Brien found a bit of encouragement the day after his squad fell to the Steelers on Christmas afternoon. Specifically, on the offensive line with rookie left tackle Julién Davenport, rookie guard Kyle Fuller and guard David Quessenberry, who made his NFL debut.

"I thought the young guys played pretty well," O'Brien said during a Tuesday press conference. "I think Julién held his own in there against some good competition. I thought that Kyle Fuller did some good things. I thought Quess did some good things having not played in a real game."

The Texans gained 176 yards on 28 carries, with Alfred Blue picking up 108 of those yards on 16 rushes. But Houston quarterbacks completed just 8-of-17 passes for 93 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Plus, they were sacked a combined seven times.

"The Star blitz, the nickel blitz got us, and that was just something that was a missed assignment, execution problem that we have to coach better," O'Brien said. "We just got to do a better job of making sure of making sure that either the back knows who he has or the tackle knows who to fan out to or whatever it is."

But on the whole, O'Brien thinks the future is bright up front on offense for the Texans.

"There’s some good, young offensive linemen here that have to continue to improve and get better, have great offseasons," O'Brien said. "We have one more game but once the Indy game is over – I’m talking specifically about these young linemen – they really need to have great offseasons."

The head coach pointed to the benefit Davenport and Fuller will get in preparing for an NFL season, instead of preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine and Pro Days, as they did last spring. 

"They go from their college season to preparing for the draft, which is not really getting ready for playing football, it’s more about getting ready for a track meet, to be honest with you," O'Brien said. "Then, they go to rookie minicamp, then OTAs and they really never have a true offseason. So, between your first and your second year – that goes for any rookie player – you have to make great strides between your first and your second year, and that offseason is huge.”

The Texans will practice Wednesday through Friday, and leave for Indianapolis on Saturday. They'll face the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday at noon CT.

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